By Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and founder of the Hot Spots Movement
Over the last couple of years my team and I have worked with companies around the world in a Future of Work Consortium where we have looked at technology trends including how Gen Z’s (those under the age of around 12) think about work and technology. Will this generation create another Steve Jobs? Certainly this generation are true mobile mavens, they take for granted a world of smartphones, tablets and high-speed wireless Internet, untethered from the constraints of a landline or a traditional Internet connection and they don’t distinguish between online and offline as they are connected all the time. We have video clips of kids younger than two years old working proficiently with iPads, often using games before they can even talk. What is interesting is that we found no real gender difference in how these young generations use technology. At the same time technology is transforming the gender roles.
«In the future we can expect many jobs to be done anywhere anytime, without rigid working hours and the demise of that long-standing male bastion: the office»
Generation Z will begin to enter the workforce within the next 10 years. What will they experience? Both men and women will have lifelong experience of using communications and media technologies that are at once sophisticated and simple to use. We can expect many jobs to be done anywhere anytime. With the formality of rigid working hours we will also see the demise of that long-standing male bastion – “the office”.
Generation Z are growing up in a world with increasing equality between men and women and where single parents and same-sex parent families are no longer unusual. We can imagine that this generation will be more accepting of gender equality. Take a look at the Becoming Chaz documentary, where Chaz Bono found it was the youngest members of his family that took his gender transition the easiest whilst his mom needed more time to accept her child’s decision.
«Generation Z are growing up in a world with increasing equality between men and women and where single parents and same-sex parent families are no longer unusual»
I believe that gender equality and communication technologies will be key aspects of the information age. There are currently few women leading companies – and very few leading technology companies. But the experiences of our youngsters suggest that this will change. The next Steve Jobs could indeed be a woman.